DM Note: If the party has already completed the encounter “Stop, Drop, and Roll” featuring Bree Oash of the Underbright Bakery, they will receive a letter in the mail, inviting them to attend an important, first-of-it’s-kind Underdark bake-off.
Otherwise, the party can learn about the upcoming competition by reading flyers that have been adhered to the sides of buildings with lemon curd jam (the sweet scent is used to attract potential readers).
The flyer/letter read roughly the same:
GREAT UNDERDARK BAKE-OFF — TONIGHT ONLY!
A competition of this magnitude kneads an audience!
Roll yourself out of bed and whisk yourself down to the Underdark to watch local legend, Bree Oash of Underbright Bakery, face off against Moe Finn of On the Rise Bakery.
Who will be crowned “Master Baker” and receive the esteemed honor of catering a royal wedding reception? Come down and find out!
Following the invitation portion, the flyer/letter includes directions to the entrance of the Underdark. If the party chooses to follow these instructions, they will discover a spiral staircase a short walk outside of town that descends deep into the earthen underbelly.
Winner Bakes All
When you arrive in the Underdark, signs direct the players to a large, open cavern. Along the edges are rows of carved stone seats, most of them filled with various denizens of the underground. Despite some of their frightening appearances, they are not interested in causing any sort of trouble for the party; rather, they are simply eager to see some competitive baking. In the center of the arena are two kitchen setups, complete with ovens, stovetops, jars of various ingredients, and baking utensils.
Standing beside one of these countertop spaces, already wearing his apron and preparing for “battle”, is a duergar who you can only imagine must be the competitor: Moe Finn from On the Rise Bakery. He is dusting his hands with flour and occasionally flexing his muscled arms to the sound of uproarious applause from the audience.
A couple of well-dressed drow, a young man and a young woman, sit in an elevated private box at the far end of the cavern. They are adorned with spider-silk robes and wear silver jewelry encrusted with sparkling gems.
Before the players can even find their seats, the male drow rises and lifts his hands with regal authority; the crowd immediately hushes.
“Good evening, my friends.” he says, his voice effortlessly amplified by the cavern’s acoustics. “My fiancée and I”, he gestures to the young woman beside him, “would like to thank all of you for coming down to the first-ever Underdark Bake-Off!”
The silence is suddenly broken by a surge of hooting and cheering from the audience.
“I know you are all eager for the competition to begin.” the female drow says, rising to stand beside her fiancé. “As you know, the stakes are high. Whoever produces the tastiest cake today will be given exclusive rights to cater our entire upcoming royal wedding reception.”
The two drow stare lovingly into each other’s eyes; a chorus of “awwws” ripples through the crowd.
“Unfortunately,” the drow prince says, now looking at the arena with complete seriousness, “it appears as though we are one challenger short. Of course, if Ms. Oash doesn’t show, then she forfeits the competition. Hey! You there!”
Suddenly, the party realizes that the prince is referring to them. The rest of the audience, in unison, shifts in their seats to stare at them in silent anticipation.
“Since you haven’t gotten comfortable in your seats yet, do us a favor, will you? Head down to the green room and see what’s keeping Ms. Oash. We want to get things started here.”
If the party agrees, they will be directed down a small staircase to a much quieter hallway. The crowd above can barely be heard through the thick stone ceiling. Although there is a second green room at the far end of the hall, it is the green room closest to the stairway that has its door ajar with Ms. Bree Oash clearly in sight.
The Recipe for Success
Bree is sitting on a chair with her face clasped in her hands. When she sees the party enter, she sits up with a start, very clearly on edge. As DM, you can choose to play out this interaction with more familiarity if the party has met Bree once before.
“I’m sorry about that,” Bree says, “I’m just a little jumpy at the moment.”
The party passes along the prince’s message.
“Yes, yes, I know I should be up there, ready to bake, but this is a lot of pressure. You don’t know it, but there is so much more riding on this competition than just a catering gig. I just don’t know what to do…”
If the party offers to help the upset baker, she will continue with her explanation.
“I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’m confident that ‘On the Rise’ is more than just a duegar-run bakery; it’s an entire revolutionary movement.”
She pauses and asks the players to shut the door behind them to ensure no one overhears. Her eyes dart around the room, showing her paranoia, and she gestures for the party to come a little closer so she can whisper.
“That dwarf up there, Moe Finn, is not just a baker. He’s the leader of an underground movement. I have it on good authority that, if Finn wins this competition, he intends on using his pastries to poison the prince, the princess, and the hundreds of other important guests planning on attending the wedding. Once the drow elite are taken out of the picture, I can only assume that Finn plans to seize power for himself.”
“The only issue is that I have zero evidence.” she says, vaguely gesturing around her. “It was all just hearsay from gossipy, but wise, patrons who came into my bakery. I know they can be trusted though. If we are going to stop Moe Finn and prevent the murder of hundreds of drow, then we need to devise some sort of plan.”
At this point, the party will need to decide on how best to proceed. If they struggle with ideas, you (as DM) can use Bree Oash to steer them and share some of her thoughts.
Option #1: Find the Confession
For this option, the players will need to go and investigate the green room on the other end of the hallway; this is the room where Moe Finn was preparing and waiting before heading up to the arena.
The greenroom is identical to Bree’s; there are dressers, a few pieces of furniture, some chairs and a table (on which is a bowl of assorted fruits), and cots for naps.
Additionally, there are two drow seated at a table playing cards and using small chocolate-chip cookies as poker chips. Another drow sits just outside the room in the hallway, but he is fast asleep with his chef hat pulled down over his eyes. If there is too loud a disturbance, he will awaken and investigate what’s going on.
Of course, the party can choose to fight these drow (statblock below) since no one above will be able to hear the scuffle. If they want to try and avoid combat, however, they can sneak by them. Beneath one of the cots, the party can find a bag that belongs to Moe Finn. If the party attempts to open this bag, a trap will trigger, spraying a cloud of flour onto everyone within 5 feet (rendering any invisibility useless and, obviously, alerting any duergar guards). Disarming the trap and searching the bag reveals a journal that outlines all of Moe’s plans.
Once the prince/princess has been handed the evidence in the journal, they will end the competition and have Moe Finn arrested. Moe is dragged away out of the arena, vowing that this battle isn’t over and even threatening the players that they “should have stayed on the surface because they just made a new enemy in the Underdark.”
For added fun, the crowd might be disappointed at the cancelled bake-off, sparking the idea to have the party compete against Bree Oash themselves (obviously, the party can’t cater a reception if they win by baking the better cake, but the drow royals could offer them some gold/treasure). The party can complete baking-related ability checks: perception checks to monitor when the cake is done baking, performance or dexterity checks to keep a steady hand when frosting the cake, etc. Just match the DCs to your desired challenge level and have fun with it!
Option #2: Bake the Confection
For this option, the players need to help Bree win the competition fair and square, thereby eliminating the threat (at least for the time being).
Bree, however, is greatly lacking confidence in her abilities. Although her Underbright Bakery is incredibly successful, the pressure of the dire situation coupled with Moe Finn’s own impressive culinary skill has raddled her.
“You know,” Bree says, “I happen to know that the prince and princess absolutely love the roasted almond flavor of uttercap mushrooms. I don’t think security will let me leave the area without forfeiting the match, but if you’re quick, you might be able to find some growing in one of the branching caverns. Gather a few uttercaps and bring them to me. I can grate them into a fine powder and use them in the baking. My cake will surely win then.”
After Bree gives the description of what to look for, the party can ascend from the green room and explore the nearby tunnels. Have players make investigation checks to find the right type of mushroom; after all, they should find a variety of others. Make some of the mushrooms poisonous or have bizarre side-effects, especially if investigation checks go poorly, or have a few of them be Violet Fungus that attack the players when disturbed.
However, once the party gathers what they need and tries to head back to the arena, they are cut off by three duergar.
“Not so fast,” one growls, holding his kitchen knife threateningly. “We went through a lot of effort starting and growing a bakery business to get to this point. We aren’t going to let you thwart Finn’s plans!”
Initiate combat. Use the statblock above for the three duergars.
Once the enemies are defeated, the party can return to the arena and hand off the mushrooms to Bree before she enters the “combat” zone and begins the bake-off.
If you want, as DM, you can make it where one or more of the players can serve as Bree’s assistant pastry chefs, rolling various checks to help in the preparation of the cake and making them feel more involved in the process.
If the party succeeds and Moe Finn is arrested/defeated, Bree will thank you on behalf of the Underdark and give you a tasty trinket: The Amulet of Eclairvoyance.
When worn, the player can activate a modified version of the spell Clairvoyance up to 3 times per long rest. However, unlike the regular clairvoyance spell which allows the spellcaster to see/hear everything at a chosen location for 10 minutes, eclairvoyance allows the spellcaster to smell/taste everything at the chosen location.